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ROUGH CUTS | Planting 3 million tree seedlings

Liquor ban ordinance violators in Davao City have decreased substantially, according to the police and that City Hall body supposedly conducting monitoring of the local law’s compliance.

The reason, the agencies say, is because of awareness brought about by the massive education drive on the ordinance. We are inclined to agree but with some reservations. Our personal take is that either the habitual drinkers among Davao City residents are acutely short of money during the first quarter of this year, or that establishments engaged in the selling of liquor are now limiting their operation up to a particular time of the night because they stand the risk of losing bigtime when drunks create trouble and resort to acts destructive of their merchandise.

Meanwhile we congratulate the local government for conducting a more extensive education drive on the ordinance. It is always on the lack of information and knowledge of the existence of ordinances that people oftentimes unintentionally commit violation against such local laws.

Just imagine that even in the compliance of one requirement before any ordinance becomes effective – the publication of the same in a widely circulated local newspaper – those in-charge do not even do!
Where do most newly minted ordinances get published? Where else but in some fly-by-night newspapers that hardly anyone resident in the city reads.

And what is the implication of this seemingly “arranged” compliance? It is clearly depriving the population of the opportunity to read details of ordinances. Why cannot the local government look into this weakness in the process of educating the people on local legislations that are of great importance in governance?

May be the City Council, when it prepares the annual budget, should provide enough funds to come up with a sustained information, education and communications (IEC) drive so the public will know of critical ordinances that the people must observe and respect.

We are definite that without any sustained IEC, ordinances are bound to fail in its objectives.


And here is this other news report. Certain organizations in Davao City are mobilizing their membership to plant an estimated 3 million trees in the habitat of the world-famous Philippine eagle. The big birds are among the fast vanishing bird species in the country, and perhaps the entire world.

Yes, planting 3 million tree seedlings is definitely doable. But having the trees grow to adulthood or even just half the years of the trees’ life expectancy, is one nebulous dream given the people’s propensity of destroying the face of the earth in the guise of development.

The possibility of this scenario of the planned massive re-greening project is very likely to happen. More so if the tree planting activity will just be another of those “plant and run” thing that was characteristic of previous tree planting projects by the government and even those initiated by private organizations including corporations with the latter as manifestation of their care for the environment.

Indeed, tree planting should not just be an “aside” among activities of government and private sector. For businesses it should go beyond the aspect of complying with their corporate social responsibility. It must be treated as investment to pave the way for a better future of both the business and the community that serves as its host and consumers of its products and services.

Of course we agree that planting 3 million trees to resuscitate the Philippine eagle’s habitat is a noble project. But the problem is whether the seedlings will survive to become new forest where the eagles can frolic, mate and multiply.

If we may give our unsolicited recommendation to the organizers of the tree planting project we suggest that they follow the tree planting model of the defunct Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) – engage the community in the planting sites. The organizers should convince their financial backers if they have any, to set aside funds for the maintenance of the seedlings for its survival for at least three to five years. Pay the land occupants a certain amount for every surviving seedling every six months, or even annually.

In other words let the land occupants or rights holders have some kind of an income generating activity on the aside. Surely that will guarantee the trees’ survival.

Want to see a living testimony? Just take the Magtuiod-New Carmen-New Valencia route going to Calinan from Davao City and vice versa. You can see the grown up narra, tugas and some other tree species now serving as bio-fence of one side of the road that has a very steep embankment. Those are products of the same tree planting strategy adopted by Davao Light.


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